Hundreds of sexual assaults reported at Islington stations
- Credit: TfL
A total of 237 cases of sexual assault were recorded at stations and on trains across Islington between 2016 and 2020.
Data from British Transport Police (BTP), obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveals that 163 instances of sexual assault were recorded on trains and 68 in stations.
Finsbury Park Station saw the highest number of reports of sexual assault - 77 cases in the last four years. At Highbury and Islington Station 66 cases of sexual assault were reported, as well as 28 at Angel.
At Archway, just one case was reported, and two at Essex Road and at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury.
Victoria Line trains had the highest number of reports, with 59 cases reported, followed by 33 on the Piccadilly Line. Only five cases were reported on Thameslink services in the borough.
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A spokesperson for British Transport Police said that increased reporting of sexual offences is welcomed.
"It tells us that more people are understanding that all types of unwanted sexual behaviour are unacceptable, and having the confidence to tell us about what’s happened to them," they said.
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"Each report we receive provides us with valuable information which we can use to build a picture of an offender. Often it allows us to notice a pattern of offending behaviour and we will take action."
Anyone experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway can text BTP on 61016, either at the time or later. If required, officers will be dispatched or the texter will be put in touch with an officer for a conversation at a later time.
"No report is too small or trivial, and we will always take you seriously,” said the spokesperson.
A TfL spokesperson said CCTV is in place in all Victoria line carriages and in all stations, and that additional officers are deployed at Finsbury Park station in response to its higher level of crime.
Neil Henderson, CEO of Safeline, an independent charity that provides support for anyone affected by sexual abuse, said: “While we can use data on issues of assault, we should still take it with a pinch of salt as the vast majority of cases go unreported.”
The Office for National Statistics predicts that up to 83% of sexual assaults in England go unreported.
Mr Henderson continued: "Our research suggests one in five women and one in six men have faced some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime."
During the four year period, one rape was recorded at Highgate Underground Station, involving a victim under the age of 18.
A further 17 individuals under the age of 18 were sexually assaulted in the period – four of them under 13.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The victims in these cases have shown bravery beyond their years in speaking out about their experiences.
“Child sexual abuse has a devastating impact on lives and it’s important victims have the confidence to come forward and seek support, knowing they will be listened to.”
- Anyone who experiences or witnesses a crime is encouraged to report it by calling 101, or texting 61016 if the incident occurred on rail or London Underground.